Baking a Turkey


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and old gobbler

Being an old granny does have it’s positive sides, (although they certainly don’t outweigh the negatives).

Because of my experience in the kitchen, I can rely on tried and true ways of doing things. I’ve learned many things (in the garden as well as the kitchen) through trial and error, and when I finally get something right, I just hang on to that way until something better comes along.

My recipe (or technique) for baking a turkey has evolved over the years, but the way I’m going to tell about right now is the way I’ve done it for at least 25-30 years. When it’s done, the turkey is a beautiful, deep golden color, the meat is moist and full of flavor and the broth is also delicious (so it makes the best gravy).

These are the things you’ll want to have ready when you are getting the bird ready for the oven.

Vegetables cut into 1″-2″ chunks: 2 onions (more if the turkey is very large), 2-4 ribs of celery and 4-5 cloves of garlic (more of everything for a very large turkey and less for a small one)

Spices: salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder


Aluminum foil (if the roasting pan doesn’t have a lid)

Roasting pan

Thaw and thoroughly wash the bird inside and out, being sure to remove the parts from the body cavity, ( including the giblet pack from the neck cavity). If you like giblet gravy, then boil these to use in your gravy. (If there is a plastic bag saying “Gravy” on it, toss it in the garbage, because that’s what it is) The parts in the body cavity, (usually the neck) is simmered till tender and the meat is falling off the bones. The stock from this will be added to the gravy.

* Salt and pepper the inside of the body cavity and the neck cavity, (turning the bird upside down and every which a way  makes this easier)

* Cram the vegetables inside the body cavity and the neck cavity, filling both as full as possible. Lay the bird on it’s back in the pan, tucking the loose skin at the neck tightly behind the bird, and tuck the tips of the wings behind the shoulders. With paper towels, completely dry the outside of the bird. These vegetables will cook down and steam the meat, making it moist as well as flavoring the broth to be used in the gravy.

* Put a large dollop of mayonnaise on the skin and with your fingers, spread evenly over the whole bird. Sprinkle with the garlic powder and onion powder, salt and pepper. Cover with lid (if using aluminum foil then tent it over the bird, trying to keep it from touching the bird as much as possible) and bake according to the directions that came with the turkey. (I bake mine 325′ for 20 minutes per pound)

Remove the lid or aluminum foil the last 30-40 minutes so the bird can brown.When done, remove from oven and allow to rest in the broth for about 15-20 minutes. Pour off the broth to use for gravy and the bird is ready for carving.


Easy gravy:

all purpose flour and cold water – gradually add the water to the flour, stirring well till all lumps are removed (a whisk works well) The amount of flour and water depends on the amount of gravy you’re making, but I start with about 1/2 cup – 1 cup of flour and add enough water to make a thin mixture.

broth from baking the turkey and the broth from simmering the neck (and giblets if you use those)

Heat the broth till just boiling and gradually add the flour mixture, stirring the gravy the whole time. Allow to cook for a minute before adjusting (adding either more of the flour mixture for thicker gravy or a little water for a thinner gravy)

The seasonings are already in this gravy.